Seth MacFarlane on FG’s Empire episode

The animation tycoon talks about 'Something Something Something Dark Side'.

craveonlineby craveonline

Seth MacFarlane on FG's Empire episode

Seth MacFarlane must be stressed out with so many shows to produce. Family Guy continues with those Star Wars specials adding onto his order. He’s still got American Dad and now The Cleveland Show spinoff is coming. The man deserves a drink, which he got at Fox’s party for their new and returning midseason shows. Unfortunately, he had fanboys like us asking him Star Wars questions all night.


Crave Online: How far along is your Empire Strikes Back episode?

Seth MacFarlane: It’s coming. It will air either in the spring or the early, early fall.

Crave Online: Which scenes from Empire did you really want to get in there?

Seth MacFarlane: The scene where he cuts open the Ton-ton. The scene where Darth Vader has set up that nice dinner table and the scene at the very end where Joe Flaherty shows up, and he says, "I’ve got something for you." He pulls out the letter, and Marty McFly opens it up, and he goes, "Oh my God, it’s from the Doc in 1885."

Crave Online: Is there another movie that you love enough to want to build a whole episode around?

Seth MacFarlane: We’d love to do the Indiana Jones series, at least the first three.

Crave Online: What different Family Guy characters would you cast as Indy, Marion, etc?

Seth MacFarlane: I guess Peter would be Indy. Lois would be Marion. And Stewie would be Short Round. No, Stewie might be, what’s his name? The German guy. The guys who burns his hand. I don’t remember his name. [Major Toht].

Crave Online: You always say that the cut-away asides are sort of like a Far Side cartoon. I came up with another interpretation I want to run by you. I feel like we’ve all grown up with those movies so much, that that’s reality to us. So in our minds of our generation, those things really happened, the things you’re cutting away to. What do you think?

Seth MacFarlane: That’s a very deep question. Say it one more time.

Crave Online: It’s all part of the shows that we all experienced, so it’s reality to us. You can cut away to a storm trooper doing something because we all know them.

Seth MacFarlane: I don’t now that it’s exactly real. It’s definitely in our collective pop-culture lexicon from my childhood.

Crave Online: What’s a movie that you’re almost ashamed to admit you love?

Seth MacFarlane: The ‘Burbs with Tom Hanks.

Crave Online: Why do you love that film?

Seth MacFarlane: Because it’s hilarious.

Crave Online: Did you love it from the get-go or did it grow on you?

Seth MacFarlane: Loved it from the get-go.

Crave Online: Besides the Star Wars stuff, what are some of the general upcoming episodes?

Seth MacFarlane: We have a Lois Griffin abortion episode coming up.

Crave Online: You just can’t get off the abortion jokes, can you?

Seth MacFarlane: No, we can’t. We have a Stewie/Brian episode, where they’re locked in a room together for an entire episode with no cut-aways, flashbacks or props. We have an episode with Lauren Conrad, who guest stars.

Crave Online: You guys have impressive guest stars. I always want to look at the credits to see who did that voice, and it’s actually that person.

Seth MacFarlane: Yeah, most of the time it is. We try.

Crave Online: What did you guys do with Lauren? What was the set-up with her?

Seth MacFarlane: She dates Brian for an episode.

Crave Online: Does it end happily or badly?

Seth MacFarlane: I’m not going to spoil it.

Crave Online: Will we see Brian on The Hills?

Seth MacFarlane: Now that’s an interesting idea. You should pitch that to MTV.

Crave Online: I know you’re a big karaoke fan. Who is your dream karaoke duet partner?

Seth MacFarlane: Let me think about this for a second. Johnny Mercer, but he’s dead.

Crave Online: What’s been your go-to song?

Seth MacFarlane: Anything from the Sinatra songbook.

Crave Online: Have you seen the book Sinatra in Hollywood?

Seth MacFarlane: I have not. I have Mr. S. I haven’t read that yet.

Crave Online: What was the decision to have The Cleveland Show do the cut-aways like Family Guy does too?

Seth MacFarlane: Well it’s the same universe, so it made sense to keep the same format.

Crave Online: Yet American Dad is not?

Seth MacFarlane: American Dad is the same universe because there have been crossovers, but in our minds Langley, Virginia and Quahog, Rhode Island exist in the same version of the US. It’s different with American Dad because it didn’t come out of Family Guy.

Crave Online: How did the plug for The Cleveland spin-off in one of the recent episodes come about?

Seth MacFarlane: We were just looking for a way to end the show.

Crave Online: Are you working on any more non-animated shows?

Seth MacFarlane: I did one for Fox called The Winner but we weren’t as funny as ‘Til Death, so we got cancelled.

Crave Online: Well, what is as funny as ‘Til Death?

Seth MacFarlane: I can’t think of anything! 

Crave Online: Is there a guest star that you’ve tried to get where it just hasn’t worked out, but you still are hoping to get them?

Seth MacFarlane: Yeah, Shatner. 

Crave Online: Is he hard to get? I thought he does everything.

Seth MacFarlane: No, he’s very picky. You know what, that’s not true. I’ve been trying to get James Taylor on the show for years.

Crave Online: He’s difficult?
Seth MacFarlane: Yes, very hard. 

Crave Online: Is Shatner mad that you had The Next Generation cast on?

Seth MacFarlane: No, he hasn’t expressed any animosity towards that.

Crave Online: Is it because he knows you’re going to ask him to scream Kahn?

Seth MacFarlane: [Laughs] I would be self-conscious to ask him that because I’m sure he gets asked that all the time at airports. 

Crave Online: What do you hope President Obama might accomplish in the first hundred days in office or so?

Seth MacFarlane: Here’s my theory: it’s going to take one term just to undo everything that George Bush has f*cked up. And by the way, not just George Bush but Reagan too, lest we forget all of these problems. We can only blame part of them on Bush. The rest of them date back to Reagan and all of his de-regulation, his repeal of the fairness doctrine and all the bullsh*t he put forth. I know this isn’t what you want to talk about, but we’re going talk about it. So you’re dealing with eight years of Reagan’s f**k-ups and eight years of Bush’s f*ck-ups. People say, "I’m a republican because I don’t think government should get involved," but look at what happens when government doesn’t get involved at all. You have this huge recession. They have to regulate things in some way, and under Republican rule they don’t. So I think, step one, we have to admit to ourselves we have to give Obama two terms, and we have to let the Democrats continue to undo everything that’s gone wrong since the eighties. Clinton was a nice band-aid, and he did a great job. If it’s worth losing millions of jobs, if it’s worth people not being able to feed their families to not have a guy in office who gets a blow-job when he wants to, then you know what? That’s the way you choose to live your life. Enjoy your poverty.

Crave Online: Do you expect the public to let Obama take his time to do that?

Seth MacFarlane: I don’t expect them to do that, no. I think the public is going to be just stupid enough to expect them to fix everything overnight. My fear is that eight years will roll by, assuming he gets elected a second term, and they’ll go, "Why didn’t he fix everything completely?" And they’ll elect Sarah Palin who will completely take the country to sh*t, and if that happens, we do not deserve to be the dominant power any longer.

Crave Online: Is the comedy writer, or one percent of you, grateful for the Bush administration?

Seth MacFarlane: No. Not even one percent. I would gladly give up all the jokes to not have to be in this situation.

Crave Online: Will you have to have already started on a Return of the Jedi spoof by now?

Seth MacFarlane: It’s being discussed. It’s a lot of work. Those episodes are a lot of work, so we’re discussing when the best time is to begin that.

Crave Online: No Phantom Menace episodes, none of that?

Seth MacFarlane: Not yet. 

Crave Online: Do you have a title for the Empire episode yet?

Seth MacFarlane: Yes, it’s called Something Something Something Dark Side.